Montana Rifle Co. Junction 308Win Field Evaluation

Formidilosus

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Shoot2HuntU
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This will be a long term, heavy use evaluation of the new MRC Junction rifle. It was sent to Ryan by MRC to be evaled by me/us for long term, heavy use. They want to know where and how it fails, if it fails. Due to barrel life, 308 win was chosen.


Company website and description-




The Rifle: MRC is a CRF part pre 64 model 70 and part Mauser 98 action, with integral picatinny bases. This one is 308win, 24” barrel, wood stocked.

IMG_7150.jpeg

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Barrel is appropriately free floated on the bottom (all manufactures take note)-
IMG_7163.jpeg


Though it could use a bit more on the sides-
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The bottom of the forend has a flush mounted M-Lok rail system-
IMG_7196.jpeg




Some factory QC was done-
IMG_7155.jpeg


The bolt is field strippable, and had quite a bit of grease in it. I left it save the firing pin-
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Spot bedded tang and lug, with a small barrel pad-
IMG_7159.jpeg


Rear action screw hole needs to be clearanced, stiff resistance at the point-
IMG_7160.jpeg



Cont….
 
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Formidilosus

Formidilosus

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Shoot2HuntU
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Cont….


A burr/sliver from machining in the front action hole. It’s came out with a pick.
IMG_7161.jpeg




Somehow I don’t think so-
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Everything degreased, and torqued appropriately.



Initial handling:

Action was quite rough out of the box. It had pretty sever bolt binding at the rear, the bolt stop is catching/dragging on the bolt, and heavy resistance in rotating the handle to lockup when chambering. Racking it was not a good impression at all. The trigger also has a bit of creep in it, but it’s not consistent.

The bolt lug wear pattern-
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Oil helped, as well as running the bolt aggressively a couple hundred times. Still not great at this point, but not as bad as it had been- which was bad enough that I was going to have the gunsmith at UM look it over.



Range:

Mounted scope, boresighted, fired one round of Setpoint match ammo, adjusted, then 10 more….
IMG_7199.jpeg


That isn’t good.

Grabbed the T3 lite and 10 rounds with same ammo-
IMG_7201.jpeg



MRC on top, T3 on bottom-
IMG_7200.jpeg



Cont….
 
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Formidilosus

Formidilosus

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Shoot2HuntU
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Cont….

Switched to Federal Tactical 168gr TMK- probably the best factory 308 ammo on the market.



MRC. Better, but still the worst 5 round group I have ever seen any rifle shoot this ammo.

IMG_7202.jpeg


Tikka T3 lite-
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MRC on top, T3 on bottom-
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Whole target-

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First range day conclusion:

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Precision is poor. The rifle’s cycling is much better now, still has rough spots but is more in line with a current M70 action in feel. Conventional open swept grips are a heavy compromise for positional shooting.



To rule out the optic, a NF 2-10x SHV was mounted.
IMG_7195.jpeg


If acceptable precision can be achieved, the barrel will get cut to 18” and threaded for a suppressor.




No improvement with the scope swap.

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Took rifle apart and there was some rubbing/contact with the rear action screw-

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Some
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Cont…..
 
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Formidilosus

Formidilosus

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Shoot2HuntU
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cont…



Some bedding/rubbing with the front action screw-
IMG_7249.jpeg


So I used a flathead screwdriver as a drill bit and opened it up-
IMG_7251.jpeg


Taped the box just in case-
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And….
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Took the muzzle brake off to eliminate that-
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The rear action screw is quite tight while screwing in. Initially I had thought it was just due to the contact with the stock, but after removing the material it still was. So, I pulled it to look at it closer-
IMG_7253.jpeg


I believe this is the problem, or at least a part of it. You cannot hand thread the rear action screw in the front of rear positions; conversely the front action screw goes in both without issue. I didn’t have a spare, but reassembled the rifle with the rear screw barely meeting resistance.


IMG_7245.jpeg


My guess is the action is moving/moved on the last shot. I’ll be at UM this week and will see if they have action screws.


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Update March 14:


There is contact on the stock from the bolt handle-
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The stock wa relieved.



Cont….
 
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Formidilosus

Formidilosus

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Shoot2HuntU
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Rear action screw had to have the first thread and a half reduced, and it was bottoming out.
IMG_7291.jpeg


Then checked bedding for movement, there was quite a bit,
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The forward barrel pad was removed in hopes that was the cause-
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Unfortunately it may have reduced the movement, but did not fix it. UM did the work, and we will shoot it tomorrow before going any further with it.



UPDATE MARCH 19th:


The bedding and/or screw seemed to be the issue.

Federal Gold Medal 168gr SMK- 1.28 MOA for ten shots
IMG_7406.jpeg



UM loaded 176gr A-Tip, 1.04 MOA for ten shots-
IMG_7425.jpeg





So now that the rifle shoots decent, it gets to ride upfront and the real shooting begins.
IMG_7426.jpeg



Next will be back to UM to get the barrel cut to 18” and threaded.





UPDATE: March 21


Spoke with MRC’s engineer for a bit, it was a good conversation. They want total transparency- good or bad, and are legitimately not happy the rifle left as it did. Most of the issues are relatively simple to correct, and ones they/you wouldn’t catch until it’s pointed out.
The rear action screw issue was already being addressed before we spoke, the rest of the smaller issues are all a priority- they stopped a shipment of rifles to ensure that the issues are not present on them, or that they are corrected if they are.

I don’t say this lightly, but so far (300’ish rounds) the foundation of the MRC is legit- feeding, firing, extracting, and ejecting are all spot on- it is a true CRF that is timed correctly (most aren’t). Now that the rifle is performing well in precision, it’s going to get used heavily.


Questions that have come up quite a bit:

1). DBM options- yes. They are looking at it/working on it. No solid timeline.

2). Different stocks- most likely.





Update: April 8

Now that the rifle is shooting appropriately, UM cut the barrel down to 18” and threaded- much better.

IMG_8034.jpeg




First two rounds after chop and thread are below the paper. Adjusted, then three on the lower left square. Adjusted than three on the center.
For the 3 shot group all day long people-

.5 inch lower left, and center is .25’ish inch-
IMG_8042.jpeg



Sub half MOA- all day long.
 
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Formidilosus

Formidilosus

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Shoot2HuntU
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The rifle has gotten quite a bit of use on it in the last couple of months.

New trigger silent greatly improved the trigger- it is very, very good now. The actions slicked up and is Pre 64 M70 level- doesn’t bind and is very smooth. The rifle shoots well, and function even in wet, and very sandy conditions has been flawless.

IMG_9736.jpeg


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Formidilosus

Formidilosus

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Shoot2HuntU
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Nice looking rifle, does not sound very promising so far. They do get credit for sending it, knowing it would not get the typical soft gun magazine review.

They’re sitting on something close. The hunting world needs a legit CRF, quality modern rifle.

A well designed CRF, in a Rokstock, with a DBM, that works would be a fantastic hunting rifle.
 

SirChooCH

Lil-Rokslider
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Following. It is my understanding these are now made by the same family company in Michigan that makes Prime bows and G3 broadheads. Was wondering if they just moved the shop from Montana with the purchase or made any changes to design since taking over? Seems like they make quite a few engineering changes to their compound bows to be unique, so possibly open to changes on the rifles as well.
 

Axlrod

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Nice looking rifle. Wasn't aware they were back. I used to shoot trap with the guy that started MRC in Kalispell back in the 90's. Hope it works out, I love the pre 64's.

On the grease on the firing pin spring. I bought a new push feed M70 Winlite back in 96'. Second year hunting with it, I had a failure to fire trying to shoot a bull. Back at camp I pulled the firing pin, and dust had mixed with the grease causing F.F. I dropped it in boiling water, and have ran it dry ever since, over 5000 rounds without issues.
 
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[mention]Formidilosus [/mention] is there anything you see in the design that you would attribute the inferior precision to?
 
OP
Formidilosus

Formidilosus

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Shoot2HuntU
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[mention]Formidilosus [/mention] is there anything you see in the design that you would attribute the inferior precision to?

Maybe bedding? The action screw holes need to be opened a bit in the stock, and there is the ever present potential that it is the barrel. They are making their own barrels, and I do not know their history of performance.

Whatever the reason, there certainly are ways to address them and produce rifles that are consistently performing.
 
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